Wednesday, November 14, 2012

DEFINING CHARACTERS





It's my pleasure to have contemporary fiction author and fellow blogger, Helen Ginger, as my guest today. Helen leads a busy life as an author, teaching public speaking and workshops, works as an editor, and book consultant. She is also an incredible resource for writers and bloggers alike. 
Today she talks a bit about defining characters through actions.

How do you define characters without saying, this person is strong or this person is mean or this person is reliable? If you're the author of the book, you don't say these things. You show their personalities through their actions. If you're reading a book, you come to know what kind of people they are through those actions.  Like in life, actions speak louder than words.

Angel, the main character in my book, Angel Sometimes, shows who she is over the course of the book. If you read the back cover blurb then you know that when she was 12 she was taken 800 miles from home and left on the streets. She was just a child, alone. But the book is not about her at 12; it's about her at 22. She's grown. She's an advocate for the homeless. She has friends. And she still has the plan to go home and confront her parents.

The streets made her strong. When she was 16, she hitchhiked to Austin, and found a help wanted sign at a bar/restaurant. Every day she waited outside for the owner to show up. Every day she asked for a job. Every day he said no, she was too young. On her 18th birthday, he hired her. He had no idea how close she was to dying.

Because of the life she had growing up, she's what I would call an "old soul." She doesn't remember a time when she didn't work - and scrounging for food is work, an even harder job than she has swimming as a mermaid in the bar/restaurant. She's built a life for herself and for others that she's helped. But she hasn't forgotten the past. Nor has she forgotten her plan to go home.  All she needs is a car, her G.E.D, and a gun.

As a reader of Angel Sometimes, you live her life as an adult. You find out what happened to her as a child. When she goes home, you go along with her.

I define Angel as a strong person. Someone told me they saw her as an old soul. I've had readers ask when the next Angel book will be out. I hadn't planned on a sequel, but the more I think about it, the more I'm wondering if she has another tale to tell. After all, she is a survivor.



BUY: AMAZON, B&N, POWELLS
ANGEL SOMETIMES

Just before her thirteenth birthday, Angel Sometimes' aunt took her 800 miles from her home in Oklahoma, gave her $50 and left Angel on South Padre Island, Texas. 

Four years later, Angel hitchhiked to Austin and got a job swimming as a mermaid in a bar in the music district. At twenty-two, she has friends and a place to live. When a homeless girl is beaten and a waitress killed, Angel realizes she will never be whole until she confronts her parents. 

She needs three things: her high school diploma, a car and a gun. She has a car. She's finished her final test for her GED. The only thing she needs is the gun and she knows where to get one. 

Preview (on Amazon)






Helen Ginger is the author of Angel Sometimes, three non-fiction books with TSTC Publishing, and a contributor to the short story anthology, The Corner CafĂ©. She's also the Coordinator of Story Circle Network's Editorial Services.  Her free ezine, Doing It Write, which goes out to subscribers around the globe, is now in its thirteenth year of publication.  She’s also an Owner/Partner and Webmistress for Legends In Our Own Minds®. 'Course, what she gets asked about most often are her three years as a mermaid at Aquarena Springs. Swimming with a shimmery tail, picnicking underwater, performing synchronized ballet, blowing air bubbles ... all year round, even in the winter.  

You can follow Helen on Twitter  or connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and her blog, Straight FromHel .

20 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Helen, welcome to Over Coffee. I'm so glad to have you visiting!

You lead an incredibly busy life and what amazes me is you found time to tell this story.

I have to say, I like the opening paragragh in this story.

Ciara said...

Yum, I want that beverage. :) Congratulations, Helen. I love that cover. Sounds like a great read!

Jo said...

Sounds like a pretty powerful story.

Johanna Garth said...

Congratulations Helen. The book sounds fabulous and it seems like you nailed the difference between showing and telling!

Isis Rushdan said...

Sounds like an interesting read! Congratulations, Helen.

Melanie Schulz said...

What a great hook: All she needs is a gun, and she knows where to get one.

Helen Ginger said...

Ciara, I love the cover, too. When I put up the e-version, it had a different cover. For the print, I wanted a more professional cover so I hired Patty Henderson to do it. I think she did an excellent job!

Helen Ginger said...

It is, Jo. You come to know her as an adult, but also find out what happened to her when she was twelve. And you get to go along with her when she returns home to confront her mother.

Helen Ginger said...

I hope I did, Johanna.

Helen Ginger said...

Thank you Isis. (Love your name!)

Helen Ginger said...

Melanie, Angel is very resourceful. She became that way from her six years on the streets. And, actually, she was quite resourceful before then!

Helen Ginger said...

Sia, thank you so much for letting me post on your blog!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Back to the show don't tell!
Helen, if they are asking for a sequel, you have to write it. Trust me.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm always looking for books that are great for struggling young women. Sometimes teenagers think their lives are terrible and it helps if they know someone who has had it much worse and risen above it.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Helen, back from the salt mines, lol!
Patty did a very nice job on the cover. Kudos to you for seeing the need to create a professional and competitive cover for your print version!

No worries, I'll have you back for the sequel too. *big grin

~Sia McKye~ said...

Ciara, isn't that a beautiful cup too?

I've quite a collection of cups myself and love different styles, although for actual use I tend to favor mugs.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia and Helen - what a great sounding book - it'll be on my to buy list .. sounds so interesting -

Looking forward to reading this - cheers .. Hilary

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Such a great point about actions speaking louder than words, Helen. Congratulations on "Angel Sometimes"!

Laura Eno said...

You did a fantastic job of showing Angel's character through her actions, Helen. Her strong personality and determination shone through your words with every decision she made.

Helen Ginger said...

Alex, I'm starting to think about what Angel would do next.

Susan, it's not technically YA, so you might want to read it first.

Hi Hilary. I hope you like it!

Thank you Elizabeth and Laura. I really appreciate that.